Plans to reform social services in Wales could free social workers from bureaucracy, but questions remain about funding the changes, the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) Cymru has said.
Robin Moulster, manager of BASW Cymru, said he was confident that the Welsh Government’s Social Services and Well-Being (Wales) Bill would reduce paperwork, but he said more detail was needed on how the reforms would be supported financially.
“Overall the general thrust of the bill is a positive one for social workers in Wales and I am optimistic that it will reduce bureaucracy,” said Moulster, who is also part of the group advising the Welsh Assembly on the bill.
“There is a concern you hear about social workers spending 60% of their time at a desk tapping away at a computer. It’s not that they shouldn’t fill in information – of course they should – but it’s about the level and amount of time they spend. I feel very optimistic that the Welsh Government has heard that message and are addressing it so the bill will be positive for social work – it means that people can get to meet people more often.
“The ‘but’ comes from whether there will be funding to properly implement the vision. That’s the concern, because what the Welsh Government is saying is that there’s no new money. There will be initial funding, but no significant amounts, so it will be about trying to turn existing service models around.
“The question is how best placed organisations are to do that in terms of the current financial situation.”
Changes in the bill that are set to reduce bureaucracy include measures to increase collaboration between the NHS and social services, a move towards regional working in adoption services and plans to slim down data recording requirements in adult services.
The Welsh Government has been contacted for a response.
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